The Many Faces of Hoarding and Trauma


  • Participants will learn and discuss the most current reasons for chronic disorganization and hoarding behaviors
  • Explain and apply the new DSM5 diagnostic criteria for hoarding
  • Review of the criteria for trauma related disorders and how they factor into hoarding contributors
  • Best practices for treatment of chronic disorganization and hoarding
  • Professional self-care strategies when working with this complex population will be presented and practiced

  • With the emergence of reality T.V. shows about hoarding, people with hoarding and chronic disorganization are reaching out for help. It is estimated that between 15 and 16 million people in the U.S. are suffering with hoarding behaviors. Hoarding has been with us since the beginning of time, yet we know clinically little about it. We do know that our ancestors were hunter and gathers for reasons of survival. In our modern society this gathering or keeping instinct or ritual may be useful at times; however, in extreme situations this behavior begins to threaten the very survival instinct that it was meant to resolve. What has been explored in the literature are various pre morbid diagnoses, like: OCD, depression, anxiety and ADHD that may set the stage for behavioral deterioration. Another concept that most human beings have experienced is a little or big trauma. These may have manifested along the journey into destructive behavioral patterns.

    This course will present the most current research and evidence based treatments for chronic disorganization and hoarding.

    Course Content

  • 8:00 -10:00       History the People Factor
  • The Definitions and Diagnostic Criteria for Hoarding Disorder, DSM 5
    Definitions and Diagnostic Criteria for Trauma-Related Disorders DSM 5
    Prevalence of Hoarding and Trauma

  • 10:00-10:15       Break
  • 10:15-12:00       Neurobiological Changes
  • Neurocognitive Deficits
    Trauma Assessment Tools

  • 12:00-1:00       Lunch
  • 1:00-2:00       Hoarding Assessment Tools
  • Contributing Factors

  • 2:00-2:15       Break
  • 2:15-3:30       Treatment Interventions, A treatment team approach
  • Question/Answer/Evaluation

    6 CEU's offered for Social Workers -Ohio

    What You Will Learn

  • You will learn about the PEOPLE, the REASONS and the TREATMEMTS for those who hoard or are chronically disorganized.
  • DSM 5 diagnosis and treatment protocols
  • Co-morbid diagnoses
  • The multiplicity of behaviors that drive hoarding
  • What characteristics are unique to hoarding
  • Case vignette
  • You will have the unique opportunity to participate in activities created to bring the challenges of these populations to life.
  • Please bring to the training a small article of personal significance that you might use in a didactic exercise.

  • You will leave with a treatment plan template ready to use.
  • How important a treatment team approach is when working with this chronic population.
  • You will have experienced professional self-care techniques that the presenter and her colleges use when working with this complex disorder.

  • Who Should Attend

    social workers, marriage and family therapists, counselors, psychologists, nurses, psychotherapists, case managers, professional organizers, EMS, firefighter, law enforcement, housing authorities, health department employees, service coordinators and any family members.

    Course Director

    Dr. Dennison PhD, LISW-S received her doctorate in psychology from California Southern University and her undergraduate and graduate degrees in social work from The Ohio State University, is the owner of Dennison & Associates, Inc. a wellness firm in Powell, Ohio. She has served as a field instructor for Capital University and for The Ohio State University. She has over 30 years of professional experience working with families in crisis situations, and first responders after traumatic events. In the early 80,s she was trained in the trauma based technique of Critical Incident Stress Management. She is a certified EMDR therapist and hypnotherapist.In 2005, she wrote a white paper on the Treatments for Secondary Traumatic Stress and lectures on how to become resilient after traumatic events change life. In 2013 she recorded a professional training DVD on The Many Faces of Hoarding and Trauma and teaches about the lingering effects of unresolved trauma.

    She is a professional member of: National Association of Social Workers, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing International Association, Institute for Hypnotherapy, Institute For Challenging Disorganization, International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, National Association of Professional Women, North Central Debriefing Team, and a board member for The Powell Chamber of Commerce.

    She is completing a book on Compassionate Healing from Traumatic Stress; has developed a greeting card line of gratitude cards, has recorded a Meditations of Gratitude CD sold on Four times per year, she provides a day retreat; teaching coping mechanisms to mitigate the effects of primary and secondary stress for helping professionals. Dr. Dennison appeared on TLC's Hoarding Buried Alive in 2010 and has since been developing treatment protocols for hoarding.

    She collaborates with a professional organizer, Karen Kruzan LISW-S to provide the community with their 6 prong treatment service for hoarding and chronically disorganized.

  • In-home consultation with professional organizer
  • Individual and family psychotherapy sessions
  • Eight session psychotherapy group for clients
  • Monthly follow- psychotherapy group for graduates of the eight week group
  • Four training options for professionals who work with people with hoarding behaviors; A six hour on site training: The Many Faces of Hoarding and Trauma, A three hour on site training on Hoarding, A three hour on site training on Trauma, A four hour DVD of The Many Faces of Hoarding and Trauma, released January, 2014.
  • A Training Manual for Professionals with assessment and treatment worksheets
  • An open ended family support group (peer and professional lead)

  • Professional Comments

    "I wanted to tell you that your presentation was the best one we�ve ever had. It hit so close to home and I took away so many practical tips and ideas. Thanks again for being there."
    Robyn Howard, President of Neatly Nested LLC, C.P.A. & Professional Organizer, Columbus Ohio

    "Dr. Dennison has led several trainings for our continuing education program at Connections. I always invite Dr. Dennison back to present and prefer to use her as a presenter several times a year. She is dependable and engaging. Her presentations are on point and I receive great feedback from our participants particularly from the Hoarding and Trauma trainings."
    Erin Coss, Training Coordinator Connections Volunteer Center Delaware Ohio

    "I have attended previous seminars conducted by Dr. Dennison, 1. Critical Stress Debriefing, 2.Grief/Loss/Recovery,3. Mind Body connection and 4.Aging. Her energy, honesty along with the element of surprise and humor only add to her ability to teach others to heal themselves."
    Catherine S. Werley, LISW-S, Worthington Ohio

    "I thoroughly enjoyed your presentation and thank you for the power points."
    Ellen Limes, Certified Professional Organizer, NAPO-Ohio Past President

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